June 17, 2499
Living Hope Medical and Psychiatric Facility,
Dr. Chancey Mai was worried. Racing down the narrow, institutionally-painted corridor, he hoped to God it wasn't too late. He burst through an iron door and emerged in a small observation room stinking of chemicals and medicine, with a one way mirror on the opposite wall. Peering into the adjacent room, he looked upon a person clad completely in white, save for a badly scarred and apparently burnt, hairless head. The patient lay listless in the corner of the featureless, padded room and slowly lifted his head.
Dr. Mai gave a little smile. He was happy to see the poor man respond. He reached for the wall and pressed a small red button, which clicked, followed by a short static hiss. "Gabe?" he spoke gently. "I've got some news for you."
The man seemed to growl towards the window on his side of the wall. "Let me see you," he muttered.
Dr. Mai flipped a switch on the sill of the one way mirror, which illuminated his side of the room. "I talked to the theologians and scientists today. They were working with one of the others. They've found out something that they think could be very important in figuring out what's wrong with you."
"Why don't they ever wo- work with me?" stammered Gabe.
"They think your case is too severe to disrupt your rest, buddy," answered the doctor. "Don't you wanna hear about their studies?"
"BLOW their studies," he bellowed. "I'm scr- screwed..." Gabe began to cough uncontrollably. He looked to the ground and blood slowly trickled from his lips, staining his bleached garments and the padded floor.
Dr. Mai grimaced in frustration. He waited for Gabriel's episode to ebb. "Just...just listen to me, Gabe? Please." The patient looked up again. Taking a deep breath, Dr. Mai began in his most sensitive tone of voice, attempting to hide any traces of fear or excitement, "Anyway, the team has been toying with a theory for years. One about phased matter and interdimensional physics and how they relate to and interact with biological life and well, it's complicated really... Well anyway, to make a long story short, they know what part of you is causing your sickness."
Gabe straightened up a bit and leaned forward, trembling with anticipation.
The doctor said flatly, "It's your soul."
June 18, 2499
Testament Research Labs,
A dozen or so men, several in long white lab coats, and the remainder wearing the plain black garb of traditional clergymen or casual dress, gathered around a table in a small, undecorated room, illuminated by a single fluorescent light in its center. Rustles of paper filled the tiny space as the men took their plain metal seats. A mustached fellow stood up at the head of the table.
"Good evening, gentlemen," resounded his confident baritone voice. "I'm sure you have all heard about our latest discovery. I'm here to elaborate a little bit so you can do your best to answer the questions of the citizens of our community. I'll try to keep this in layman's terms, so please try to bear with me."
The man slowly paced the front of the room, twirling a pencil in his right hand. "First of all, I must remind you of Clay's Theory of Inner Matter. This was the doctrine that stated that the human soul was made of matter, very similar to that of the human body. However, we have known that this matter exists as phased matter. That is, it cannot interact with the matter of this world...or so we thought. Due to reasons yet unknown, we know that there now exists a disease which is contracted through the human soul and is capable of eventually spreading into the body's physical matter via the cerebral cortex, causing severe physical and psychological handicaps."
He stopped pacing and planted the palms of his hands at the end of the desk. He continued, "As of now, all known cases of this 'disease' have been right here in our very small, very isolated, very controlled colony...and unfortunately, it does appear to be spreading somehow. Although we know that the viral energy originates in the soul, we have no idea of how this disease is initially contracted. And if the world outside our tiny communes should somehow become infected, there could be an international pandemic within weeks."
Everyone bowed their heads and was still. "Therefore, we must declare our entire colony under quarantine until further notice."
June 20, 2499
The Eastern Megalopolis
"So what the hell is it?" shrieked Jodi as she clawed at her pinkened, mottled arms. She stared down onto the sparkling city below her through the wide, spotless windows of her penthouse.
"You've gone psycho!" returned Nadya from the elegant living room. Sprawled out on the sofa, her posture revealed her lack of concern. Her dark skin contrasted with the sparkles on the goblet of wine she had been sipping. She sighed. "What in the name of Madonna ya want me to do about it?"
"I don't know! But I've got a corpse in my lovin' kitchen and my body's falling apart!" She began to cry, streaking black mascara lines down her sickly pale face. She looked into her kitchen and vomited. There lay the body of her lover, shirtless, a knife standing erect from his spine and streaks of crimson trickling across his side.
Jodi burst through the door and stumbled into the elevator across the plush hall. Like an angel plummeting from the heavens, she dropped to the lobby and ran across the grand floor, tripping on the soft purple carpet as she went. She pushed through the double glass doors and barreled into the streets, tangling herself in the forest of human limbs.